Aug 21, 2022 - World

Everything we know about the death of Putin ally Alexander Dugin's daughter

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin at an event on Aug. 15. Photo: Contributor/Getty Images

The daughter of an influential Russian philosopher and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin was killed by a suspected car bomb outside Moscow late Saturday evening.

The latest: Russian law enforcement has opened a criminal investigation into the death of Darya Dugina, who was killed by a car bomb placed on the underside of the car, the Russian Investigative Committee said in a Telegram post on Sunday.

Who were Alexander Dugin and Darya Dugina?

Alexander Dugin is an ultranationalist philosopher often referred to as "Putin's brain" who has helped shape Putin's expansionist foreign policy, per the Guardian.

  • Dugin has long advocated for the unification of Russian-speaking territories and regions, per Al Jazeera.
  • Both Dugin and his daughter have been sanctioned by the U.S. In a statement in March, the U.S. Treasury Department described Dugina as the chief editor of the website United World International (UWI) which had published an article suggesting Ukraine would "perish" if it joined NATO.
  • Dugina was also sanctioned by the U.K. earlier this year, which described her as a "high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on various online platforms."

How did the blast occur?

Dugina died after the Toyota Land Cruiser she was driving exploded in Bolshye Vyazemy, a small village about 31 miles southeast of Moscow, the Russian Investigative Committee wrote in the Telegram post.

  • "The bomb was found to have been placed under the underside of the car on the driver's side," the committee added, adding that the car subsequently caught fire.
  • Dugina "died on the spot," it added.
  • Andrey Krasnov, a person who knew Dugina, told Russian state news agency TASS that the car she had been driving actually belonged to her father and that Dugin — or possibly both Durgin and Dugina — had been the intended target of the blast.

Who is to blame?

Russia has been quick to point the finger at Ukraine, which has denied involvement.

  • "If the Ukrainian trace is confirmed ... then we must talk about the policy of state terrorism pursued by the Kiev regime," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post.
  • "The facts have accumulated over the years: from political calls for violence to the leadership and involvement of Ukrainian government agencies in crimes," she added.
  • Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak denied the accusations in a Ukrainian television interview on Sunday.
  • "Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state, which the Russian Federation is, and even more so, we are not a terrorist state," Podolyak said, CNN reported.
  • On Monday Russia's principal security agency, the FSB, accused "Ukrainian special services" of being behind the attack. The explosion, the FSB said, had been orchestrated by a Ukrainian woman who then fled with her daughter to Estonia, the Washington Post reported.

Editor's note: This post was updated with additional details through out.

Go deeper